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I first encountered zucchini lasagna a few years ago when I was attempting a low-carb diet.  The diet didn’t work out, but the lasagna sure did.  When I decided to attempt a vegan lasagna, I knew I would turn to zucchini instead of pasta.  The thought of not using cheese, however, intimidated me.  I have never made tofu ricotta and – to be 100% honest – my expectations weren’t very high. But being an adventurous cook, I decided to jump in.

I couldn’t be happier with the result.  The tofu ricotta didn’t thrill me on its own, but when baked with the tomato sauce and sautéed vegetables it was incredibly tasty – and remarkably like the “real” thing.  You’ll have to set a little time aside to make this dish, but I think you’ll agree that it is certainly worth the effort.  Don’t skip the step of salting and draining the zucchini – otherwise the excess moisture will make your lasagna very watery.

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 3 large or 5 small zucchini, peeled
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots, cut into match sticks
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 full recipe of tofu ricotta (recipe below)
  • 1 jar prepared pasta sauce (or equivalent amount of homemade)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup vegan cheese (I used Daiya cheddar)

Preparation: 

Prepare tofu ricotta and set aside.

Slice zucchini into thin, horizontal planks.  I used a mandolin.  Place zucchini in a colander and salt.  Allow to sit for 30-60 minutes to extract extra moisture. Drain and pat dry with a towel.  Bake or sauté slices for a few minutes on each side to ensure all excess moisture is removed (I cooked slices in a non-stick pan for 2-3 minutes on each side).  Put aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  

Heat oil in a pan on medium to medium-high heat.  Add carrot sticks and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add sliced baby bella mushroom and onion cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes.  Add spinach and cook until wilted.  Remove from heat.

Put a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish.  Place zucchini planks over sauce to cover the bottom of the dish.  Add 1/2 the ricotta mixture, spreading it evenly over the zucchini.  Then add 1/2 the mushroom mixture, spreading it over the ricotta.  Add another thin layer of sauce.  Repeat with zucchini, ricotta and mushroom mixture.  Add a last layer of zucchini and cover in sauce. If you like, add a layer of vegan cheese . 

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Remove lasagna from the oven and allow to sit for approximately 15 minutes before serving.  

Tofu Ricotta

  • One package shelf-stable, extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 container Tofutti sour cream
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons light yellow miso
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • pinch of nutmeg
Mash all ingredients together with a fork.
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